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And Now, Unemotional Post Season Baseball October 9, 2018

Posted by Jim Berkin in Baseball.
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My Yankees (yes, they belong to me) couldn’t stand up to the Red Sox this year, whether in the division race or in the division series. Their bats went dead and their pitchers got blasted.

They made nice comebacks in Game 1 and Game 4, but ultimately fell short by mere inches. That’s baseball.

So they’re done for 2018. They won 100 games, not too shabby. Whatever wheeling and dealing they do in the off season (Signing Harper? Trading Bird and maybe Sanchez for De Grom? Who knows?) remains to be seen, but in the meantime, they still look like the 1994-95 era Yankees, a young team solidly stacked with young star talent who will be contenders, if not champs, for many years to come.

Only a couple more pieces of the puzzle for that champion team to come together, I think… a starting pitcher, a hole filled in the formidable batting line up to get more hitting continuity & move away from the feast or famine of homerun versus strikeout that plagues the game right now.

Honestly, even if they had beaten the Sox, I think they’d have fallen to the Astros, who look unbeatable. I’d think the Astros beat the Sox and win it all again, to be honest.

But you never know.

At least now, I’ll watch as a fan of the sport – the pure analyst, accepting any result, not emotionally invested in rooting for any particular team.

“I always thought you were a bit of a pirate at heart,” as Kirk said.

Hmmm….. perhaps the Tantalus field might help the Yankees in 2019….

Aw crap. Wrong universe. Better just sign Harper and trade for a reliable starter.

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October Baseball October 6, 2018

Posted by Jim Berkin in Baseball.
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Sandy Koufax with some serious sweater action. (With Billie Jean King, no less!)

I’ll watch more sports this month than any other month of the year. Between postseason baseball, NFL, college football, and now the start of both NHL and NBA seasons, well…. I guess there’s ALWAYS a game on.

Rooting for the Yankees, obviously. If they can get by their AL opponents, I’d think they could win the World Series over any of the NL ones. And I think I could say that for the Red Sox & Astros, too. Sorry, Indians fans.

Always love seeing Koufax in the stands, watching guys like Ryu or Kershaw annihilate a batting order the way he used to, since Sandy is still KING OF THE JEWS. Sorry, Seinfeld fans.

In the NL, I’d think it comes down to the Dodgers & Brewers, and I’d have to give the edge to the Brewers, though I think that series could easily go 6 or 7.

I want the Yankees in the AL in my heart, but my objective analyst brain sez it’ll be the Astros repeating. But who knows? Maybe I’ll be as happy to be wrong about the Yankees as I was with the Patriots.

In the meantime, check out the serious sweater action from the 1968 Cardinals. It’s time to dress for fall, gentlemen.

A Truly Historic Occasion September 30, 2018

Posted by Jim Berkin in Football, General.
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I was wrong.

About the Patriots. They did just fine today, in nearly every category of play.

Being wrong is a completely unknown and new sensation for me, however. I’ll need some time to absorb and process it.

But Go Pats, in the meantime…

As The Wheels Come Off September 27, 2018

Posted by Jim Berkin in Football.
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The Patriots have looked pretty horrible the past couple of weeks, after squeaking by a weak Houston team in week 1.

Between injuries (Burkhead, Flowers, Chung), stupid management decisions (Goodbye to Cooks, Amendola, Lewis, Solder) and Edelman’s 4 game suspension, they got nuthin’ for Brady to work with out there.

And while previous Patriot seasons would begin 2-2 or the like and wind up with Super Bowl appearances as the team made adjustments and people you never heard of would step up, this year feels different.

It’s a gut feeling on my part watching these first few games, and I hope I’m wrong, but I think this time, the Brady run they’ve been on since pretty much he stepped in as starting QB is over.

Brady looks like he’s lost a little edge out there – overthrowing an amazingly weak receiver core. He’s worked with motley assortments of receivers all his years, but now…. he’s got nuthin’.  It can’t all be on Gronk. And Brady’s 41. I don’t care about his training regimen or if he’s juicing with Underdog’s super energy pill – one serious injury and he’s done.

By the time I was 41, I needed an ambulance just to take me to the bathroom down the hall.

And they got nuthin’ to replace him.

I think even a returned Edelman and a sobered up Josh Gordon won’t be enough.

That’s right… I’m a total pessimist.

And their defense, at whose spikes can be laid the blame for losing a winnable Super Bowl last February still sucks. No pass rush. No pass defense to speak of. Linebackers who can’t tackle.

Miami is coming to Gillette this Sunday and are 7 point underdogs.

Take ’em and the points. Easy money. I think Miami will win the game outright, and there’ll be a lot of articles written that sound a lot like this blog post. Get ready next Monday for a lot of “The Patriots Are Over” hot-takes.

BUT I’M FIRST!!!!

I hope I’m wrong, but I think it’s over. It was great fun while it lasted, but I’m getting a very strong “2010 Yankees” vibe from these guys… when the Jeter/Rivera era had waned, they had a last hurrah in ’09, and the glory years of a decade earlier were a distant memory. It took some years to rebuild. The Pats are in the same place, alas.

I got the Thursday night game on. While writing this, I just watched Brandon Cooks catch a 47 yard TD pass from Jared Goff. Yeah, the Pats certainly got their draft pick’s worth out of THAT trade.

Although at least Cooks will probably win a Superbowl now.

Just remember…. you heard it first from MISTER KILL JOY, RIGHT HERE.

But I hope I’m wrong.

 

Thrift Store Triumph & Tragedy September 22, 2018

Posted by Jim Berkin in Books, General, Writing.
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Been blog-absent for some time now, sorry. Finishing up a new book that y’all can watch this space for in a few weeks – not the new Wagstaff novel, but the first entry in a NEW series, this one a young adult scifi adventure tale that I’m sure adults can enjoy as well – and I’ve also devoted much time to work, an interesting investment exercise, and sports sports sports.

But in the meantime, a tale I’m inspired by today’s events to tell.

About a week ago while rummaging through yet another thrift store, I came across a pristine jet black 100% cashmere sport coat which I took as a sign from God to buy since it fit me PERFECTLY. The price tag was a tad steep for the thrift store universe since it had a Dior label, but between knowing the money would go to charity and a surprise $25 refund from my eye doctor the very same day, I figured I could simply average it with the other 100% cashmere blazer I found in a thrift store some months ago for a mere $3 and call it a day.

So today, I’m out running some errands and figure that I may as well hit the Goodwill to see what’s turned up in the book bin mostly, and lo and behold… another beautiful jet black blazer, only this time, 100% camels hair. I got a gray and a navy blue camels hair jacket, why not another black one? Evan-Piccone for Macy’s, too, a decent make. And this one was tagged at only ten bucks AND it was the discount color of the week making it only FIVE BUCKS!!!! This thing new would have been at least $150 or more.

BUT IT WAS A SIZE AND A HALF TOO BIG.

A 43 large, as it turned out. If I was 2 inches taller and 15 pounds heavier I might have gotten away with it, but that wasn’t happening. I’m a 40 regular and can get away with a 39, but that’s about it.

What a bummer. It deeply hurt me to have to put such an amazing bargain back on the rack even when I’ve already got a nice black jacket.

Actually, I have three. One is regular wool, and the other a velvety cotton number that I like to think of as my Dracula-as-pimp jacket. But the camels hair would have been a nice addition to the upper-end of the Wagstaff wardrobe.

AND the book selection at Goodwill was meager. Bah.

SO MY HEART WAS BROKEN.

Was this payback for my dream the other night where Fred “Rerun” Berry from What’s Happening? followed me to my car and asked me to drive him to Pasadena because there’d be “a few beers in it” for me and I turned him down, breaking HIS heart?

Yes, I really have dreams like that. Either the shrimp marinara for dinner that night, or my own insanity.

So, I’m only batting .500 for nice jackets this September.

But soon…. watch this space…. I think my batting average for novels worth reading will remain at 1.000 with the new YA entry. Stay tuned!

 

 

Welcome To All B3TA Linkers August 24, 2018

Posted by Jim Berkin in General.
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A quick examination of my traffic shows me that a post on the Brit pop culture boards B3TA has led many of you to this blog, mostly for the Cris Shapan post I wrote some time ago.

Welcome!

Feel free to look around, check out the topic menu. Or just keep scrolling & enjoy. Lots of film & TV articles, cat pictures, stupid jokes, and this pic which is just for you Brits – one of my all time favorite countrymen of yours.

And MOST DEFINITELY click on the “Buy My Books” tab and check out my comic detective novels on Amazon. Help feed me, or so help me God, I’ll scour the internet for explicit porn starring Terry-Thomas and Robert Morley and I’ll start posting it.

You’ve been warned, guv’nor. Now don’t be a bloody git.

Baseball Card Of The Day: 1972 Topps “Boyhood Photos of the Stars” Jim Fregosi August 23, 2018

Posted by Jim Berkin in Baseball, Baseball Cards.
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You’d think they’d be more consistent in using kid photos of baseball players actually playing baseball, from their little league days or whatever.

Most of the cards in this section of the monster 1972 Topps set featured just that – the Tom Seaver or Willie Stargell show ’em both in their caps and uniforms back in their childhood days.

But Jim Fregosi, notable as a star on the Angels for a number of years who the Mets, being the Mets, traded Nolan Ryan for, only gets to play the accordion.

Maybe that’s why the Mets wanted him.

“Let’s unload a guy on the way to being one of the all time greatest pitchers ever, who’ll pitch a staggering 7 no hitters, pitch deep into his late 40s and set the all strikeout record….FOR AN ACCORDION!!!!!”

Actually, Fregosi broke his thumb with the Mets, lasted a year with them, went to other teams as a backup and eventually became a manager back with Angels, the team he’d had his best hitting years with, along with some Gold Glove fielding.  And in his mangerial stint with the Angels, he’d have Nolan Ryan on his pitching staff.

Not sure about the accordion.

Joe Torre’s boyhood photo is a nice one, too. It reminds me of when kid Henry Hill comes home to his mom wearing a new suit and mom scowls “You look like a gangster!”

The car is a nice touch. Just out of shot, Tom Hagen is telling Tessio “Can’t do it Sallie!” and Torre’s about to help him into the back seat.

You’d think it would have been Clemenza, but Tessio was always smarter.

But Joe won 4 World Series managing the Yankees.

Play THAT on your accordion.

Exactly August 22, 2018

Posted by Jim Berkin in Cats, Television.
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To quote Sgt. Nick Yemana, “Very well put.”

Art Reveals Brilliance August 21, 2018

Posted by Jim Berkin in Art.
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Let him into the drawing class?? I’d give whoever did this tenure.

OCD Football Card Of The Day: 1971 Ray Nitschke August 18, 2018

Posted by Jim Berkin in Football.
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It’s storytime, cats and kittens!

1971 was the first year I began collecting sports cards. Starting in the spring with baseball, my fave sport, I’d take the fifty cent allowance I got each week for not being TOO much of a pain in the ass, and walk the 3/4 mile each way (I just measured it on google maps) to what was then Adam’s Drugs (now a Dollar Tree, evidently) and buy 5 packs of 10 cards for a dime baseball cards.

They put ’em out in at least 6 “series” back then, meaning they’d sell segments of the entire set and change them every few weeks. You’d have to wait for a lot of your favorite players and stars, reading the checklist cards carefully to see what was out there, what was gone and what was coming.

Far too often, the local candy wholesalers would run erratic schedules, and combining that with packs left on the shelves meant some series of cards got incredibly short shrift. Looking over all the cards I bought in ’71, Series 4 and 6, the final one, are rather thin. 1972 was an even bigger set, and the final series of those had a very brief shelf life at Adam’s Drugs, as well as nationally. It’s why the “high number” cards even for commons are more expensive these days.

In ’73 and ’74, I bought whole boxes directly from a local wholesaler who didn’t mind selling single boxes to kids who collected cards. And Topps abandoned series in ’73, as well as cutting down the size of the set from 787 to 660. So, a box of packs held unlimited possibilities of what players I’d get. 24 packs to a box for two bucks at wholesale, a WAY better deal than Adam’s Drugs, once I’d saved my allowance.

Two bucks! Now look at what a box that’s managed to stay unopened since 1973 goes for at auction and cry.

In later years, I’d buy hand-sorted complete sets from ads in the back of The Sporting News. It was great to have the cards… but the anticipation/surprise of opening those wax packs was gone, and it was really part of the fun.

I didn’t miss the hard-candy textured shingle of industrial bubblegum that we always dreaded would be next to a card we really wanted in the pack, leaving that God damn gum stain on it.

Anyway, back in 1971 by the time we got to around this point in the year near Labor Day, the football packs would appear, followed by the basketball and hockey ones.

In the fall of ’71, I kept buying cards. I paid more attention to football than I did to baseketball or hockey. I only bought maybe 1 or 2 packs of those, but I bought football throughout the season. Only 2 series of cards to deal with, too. (more…)